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Trades program partners with state agencies for minority, women recruitment
Photos and Story by Abe Proctor
The Bureau of Labor and Industries and the Oregon Department of Transportation have partnered with Portland Community College’s Evening Trades Apprenticeship Preparation program in an effort to increase the participation of minorities and women in heavy highway construction trades. The partnership will support the program’s core mission of providing hands-on pre-apprenticeship training, with a focus on educating students and the community about the specific work duties and culture of the construction trades.
“Heavy highway work is challenging but extremely rewarding,” said Evening Trades Apprenticeship Preparation Director Eddie Lincoln. “The pay, in many cases, can be better than our students have ever received.”
As part of the new partnership, the trades program will deliver a series of heavy highway construction trade presentations, tours and surveys at local high schools, community based organizations, nonprofits and churches. The presentations are interactive and engaging and aimed to give prospective students a look into the world of heavy highway and bridge construction.
“Heavy highway construction is at the heart of the plan to rebuild the local and national infrastructure in this country,” said Stephen Simms, administrator of the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Apprentice and Training Division. “The future holds many jobs for skilled and trained heavy highway construction individuals.”
Many members of the baby boom generation, who have built good lives from working in heavy highway construction trades, are preparing for retirement. These workers have the skills, knowledge and expertise to teach and train a younger generation how to excel in these challenging careers. The construction trades specific to the heavy highway field include operating engineers, carpenters, construction laborers, iron workers, and cement masons.
“If you want a career that will allow you to travel, earn while you learn, build interstate highways and bridges, work outside and get plenty of physical exercise, heavy highway construction could be the career for you,” said Lincoln. “There is real enjoyment in working with your hands and actually seeing the progress you have made over the course of a day or week or month.”
For more information, call (971) 722-5744.